Patricia Pearson returns to non-fiction with a witty, insightful and highly personal look at recognizing and coping with fears and anxieties in our contemporary world. The millions of North Americans who silently cope with anxiety at last have a witty, articulate champion in Patricia Pearson, who shows that the anxious are hardly “nervous nellies” with “weak characters” who just need medicine and a pat on the head. Instead, Pearson questions what it is about today’s culture that is making people anxious, and offers some surprising answers–as well as some inspiring solutions based on her own fierce battle to drive the beast away. Drawing on personal episodes of incapacitating dread as a vivid, often hilarious guide to her quest to understand this most ancient of human emotions, Pearson delves into the history and geography of anxiety. Why are North Americans so much more likely to suffer than Latin Americans? Why did Darwin treat hypochondria with sprays from a hose? Why have we forgotten the insights of some of our greatest philosophers, theologians and psychologists in favor of prescribing addictive drugs? In this blend of fascinating reportage and poignant memoir, Pearson ends with her struggle to withdraw from antidepressants and to find more self-aware and philosophically-grounded ways to strengthen the soul.
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